Taslima Nasrin Escapes Bangladesh
by Matt Cherry
The following article is from the Secular
Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 1.
World-famous secular humanist writer and feminist Taslima Nasrin has escaped the threat
of hanging by Muslim fundamentalists in her native Bangladesh. As SHB was going to press,
news came of Nasrin's dramatic flight to freedom in Sweden.
In 1994 Muslim militants had issued a fatwa-a Muslim religious judgment-demanding the
execution of Nasrin for her criticism of Islam. The Bangladeshi government at that time
had also issued a warrant for Nasrin's arrest on the grounds of alleged blasphemy.
The controversial poet and journalist escaped Bangladesh in 1994, but returned in
September 1998 to take care of her dying mother. A campaign of demonstrations against
Nasrin and renewed calls for her murder forced her once again into hiding. The Council for
Secular Humanism mounted an international campaign to ensure the safety of Dr. Nasrin, a
Senior Editor of Free Inquiry magazine (see Free Inquiry, Winter 1998/99, for more
information and an in-depth interview with Taslima Nasrin.)
Nasrin's mother died on January11, 1999. On January 24, Nasrin phoned Warren Allen
Smith-who had coordinated the secular humanist campaign in her defense-to tell him she was
now safely in Sweden. Nasrin had the assistance of the European Union's ambassador in
escaping from Bangladesh, she said. She told Smith, "I had no other alternative but
to leave. . . . It is very comforting to know that so many have been concerned about
Humanism Online Library